Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 14:10
Courtesy of John Paraskevas/Newsday/MCT
President Barack Obama during the second presidential debate with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, on Tuesday, October 16, 2012.
While some may say that the recent town hall debate wasn’t as clear a victory for Obama as was Romney's in the first presidential debate, one thing did become clear after watching the broadcast live–Romney is running for George W. Bush’s third term.
While sound bites in the media have been ringing to compromise the integrity of both presidential candidates, and by integrity I mean poll points, Romney walked away needing an industrial-strength excavator to dig himself out of the hole he created.
Not only did he once hire a woman to “promote gender equality” in the workplace, he also said he wanted to keep Pell Grants and student loans in place–at a price. Instead of being a federally funded program where all students who can’t afford college are given money, the decision will be left up to the banks, once again privatizing the power to distribute student loans.
However, that’s not what makes Romney the reincarnation of Bush, because let’s face it–Bush has become political deadweight and for the most part irrelevant. In last week’s debate, Romney showed he was reverting back to the Bush administration for not only his campaign policies–for which both promised an across the board tax cut that would somehow not affect the middle class or raise the deficit–but for his future administration as well. The day after the debate, Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, was introduced at a Cleveland rally by former Bush Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.
While the support of a former Bush crony alone might not return us to the dark ages of a New England-bred president with a Southern accent, the parallels between Romney and fellow Harvard alum Bush are undeniable.
Besides the obvious party affiliation, Romney mimics the Bush administration in more ways than one. Nothing could more clearly identify this point than when he blatantly dodged the question of Nassau County voter Susan Katz.
“Governor Romney, I am an undecided voter because I'm disappointed with the lack of progress I've seen in the last four years," she said. "However, I do attribute much of America's economic and international problems to the failings and missteps of the Bush administration. Since both you and President Bush are Republicans, I fear a return to the policies of those years should you win this election. What is the biggest difference between you and George W. Bush, and how do you differentiate yourself from George W. Bush?”
At first, Romney putt off the question by returning to the question of contraceptives, saying all women should have access to contraceptives and Washington bureaucrats and employers alike shouldn’t have a say in it even though, up until that point, Romney made his position on contraceptives clear: employers have the right to refuse coverage for contraceptives on moral grounds. Another contradiction.
After being called out by President Obama–“Governor, that’s not true,”–and ignoring the fact-check, Romney continued onto the Bush question without much elaboration. He began with the obvious.
“President Bush and I are different people, and these are different times,” said Romney.
He went on to explain how his five-point plan was completely different from what Bush would have done, saying that he wants North America to become energy-efficient, that he’s going to crack down on China, balance the budget, champion small businesses and focus on jobs for the American people.
Wait, Romney is different than Bush because he wants to become energy secure? How is that different than in 2000 when Bush ran on the platform of stopping American dependence on oil and moving towards fossil fuel solutions? Or when Bush said he would balance the budget through tax cuts and increased military spending, but was vague on how exactly he would lower government spending? These similarities plagued the presidential debate last week, and at every turn Romney was confronted with the astute observation that he was, in fact, not any different than Bush.
However, Romney was right in one sense–these are different times. When Bush ran in 2000, there was a $236 billion dollar surplus
, while today there is a $1.1 trillion dollar deficit
. So why is Romney trying to give tax cuts that in 2001, when there was a balanced budget, started the recession in the first place? Why is he trying to spend more on the military when two wars drained our economy dry? This is the big change that’s supposed to get our country out of debt, and yet I see no change from what got us there in the first place.
You might not want four more years of Obama, even though as college students you should because then the 74.7 percent
of you that have need-based aid would be fighting to retain most of it, but I definitely don’t want another Bush in office. There have been enough of them already.